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Omaha Tribe considers next steps for marijuana operation






Omaha Tribe Chairman Vernon Miller and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) in March 2015. Photo from Twitter

The Omaha Tribe of Nebraska is moving slowly when it comes to joining the marijuana industry, Chairman Vernon Miller said.

Tribal voters approved three marijuana and hemp questions in a non-binding referendum on Tuesday. Leaders now plan to talk to state and federal officials in Nebraska and Iowa as they consider their next steps.

"We recognize we are next to the states of Nebraska and Iowa, but our relationship is with the federal government,” Miller told The Sioux City Journal. “As a sovereign nation, that’s who we deal with directly.”

Miller is also paying close attention to what happens in neighboring South Dakota. The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe plans to open the first "marijuana resort" on December 31.

“We’re also being very cautious and are also gauging what happens in Flandreau,” Miller told the paper. “We support what Flandreau is doing, but we also want to be cognizant that we’re in a different state and a different area than them.”

Marijuana otherwise remains illegal under federal law although the Department of Justice seemingly opened the door to the drug in Indian Country with the 2014 Wilkinson memo.

So far, however, no tribe has successfully grown the drug -- or even hemp, marijuana's harmless cousin -- without being raided by state or federal authorities.

Get the Story:
Western Iowa could be site of Omaha Tribe marijuana operations (The Sioux City Journal 11/5)
Majority of residents vote to legalize weed on reservation during referend (Siouxland Matters 11/4)

Relevant Documents:
Department of Justice Policy Statement Regarding Marijuana Issues in Indian Country (October 2014)

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